Speaker: Liam Kress '21
How did WT's Performing Arts program positively impact your life?
Liam Kress '21: That question is like tailored perfectly for me because the performing arts gave me my career. And not in the typical sense, but Mrs. Holmes approached me in my junior year um asking me if I wanted to produce and record an original soundtrack for the winter play, which was "The Tempest" at the time. And that's never been done before at WT. At least to my knowledge. And I don't think it has since I could be wrong, but that's neither here nor there. I never did anything like that before. Mrs. Holmes knew that I kind of produced music on the side for fun in my spare time, but she was the one who gave me my first professional opportunity and I took it and I was scared. I didn't know what I was doing, but I learned, I learned along the way and I talked with people who did know what they were doing and "The Tempest" was great. The songs were fantastic. I worked with the crew, I worked with the cast, I worked with the entirety of the creative team to get those songs to where they needed to be. And she did it again in my senior year. She approached me once again asking the same thing for "Spoon River," which was the winter play at the time. And that was even more closely knit with the cast and crew where I tailored the songs for each individual person singing them. And her decision, her believing in me, her giving me that chance, sparked my entire future. I am in school right now pursuing music production because of Mrs. Holmes. She gave me that opportunity and without her I'd be doing construction. I don't know. But Mrs. Holmes gave me a chance and she believed in me and I couldn't be more grateful for her. So performing arts Mrs. Holmes, they've impacted my life in every single possible avenue.
What's one of your favorite memories of Mrs. Holmes?
Liam Kress '21: There are so many, there really are. The one that stands out right now, at least I'm sure I'm gonna like think of a million others as I'm recording this. But um you know speech. Speech class. We had to write speeches. I forget what type of speech it was. I think it was the impromptu speech. But, you know, getting Mrs. Holmes to laugh first of all is a feeling that's very unique because Mrs. Holmes's laugh, it's just it feels a whole room. And it, it's just it's contagious. It really her her laughter is the reason why laughter is contagious because she I don't know her joy is just something else, but I was giving my impromptu speech, I don't even remember what I said. But no one in the room laughed except for Mrs. Holmes, and I'll remember she gave the biggest laugh and I couldn't even care that my peers and my friends didn't think twice of what I was saying. But the fact that Mrs. Holmes, who has been you know doing speech class for forever at WT at WT , for as long as I've been there at least and who has influenced so many people and who has heard so many you know low quality jokes given by her students the fact that she laughed as hard as she did at something that I said. It just, it gave me so much confidence and it really was just like wow I can do this, I can do this and I probably bombed the rest of the speech. But just making Mrs. Holmes laugh is just like, it was just the greatest. It was just, it was just fantastic.
What are some of the lessons you carry with you today?
Liam Kress '21: There are a lot of lessons that I carry in my everyday life from Mrs. Holmes. Probably the one I use most often when I'm, when I'm working for clients, where I'm working with a creative team is just go with your gut. If if you're pursuing something in the creative arts like production or any sort of any sort of creative endeavor, second guessing, you know, when your heart wants you to second guess, but you also know when something is good. I could spend hours and hours mixing a project, mixing a session, staying in the studio for like 2, 3 hours. But then I think back to my time recording the songs for "The Tempest" and the "Spoon River" Sessions, and I just remember that I just went with it and when I go with the flow, when I just let my creativity roll, I tend to produce the best work and the work that I'm the most proud of at the end of the day. And as cliche as that might sound for somebody in the production field, the people who I talked to and the peers who I work with today, they all agree. They think back to times when they were younger, learning about the craft and getting their starts. just kind of going with it. And not only is it more fun that way, but you don't have to think about the technicalities, you know? Mrs. Holmes gave me that opportunity knowing full well that I've never produced anything professionally, but she, she just let me go with it and she, she had a couple of notes. But as does every single client and "Spoon River" and "The Tempest," they're still one of my favorite shows I've ever have ever scored and I've ever produced. So yeah, go with your gut. Your gut is probably right.